Copyright Law
The laws of the United States (title 17, U.S. Code) protect the authors or creators of original works of authorship through the legal concept of copyright. These original works include:
  • literary
  • dramatic
  • musical
  • artistic
  • scientific
  • and certain other intellectual works.
Copyright does not protect ideas and other intangibles.

UT Health Science Center at San Antonio expects all members of its community to comply with U.S. copyright laws, and refers all users of its technological and information resources to the description of copyright law included in the Use of Copyrighted Materials in the UTHSC Handbook of Operating Procedures, Chapter 2.3.2.

Copyright can be a complex concept with many nuances. Authoritative websites exist to help provide guidance to  individuals who create or use work covered by copyright protection. For more detailed information concerning U.S. copyright law, consult the Additional Resources tab of this guide.
At the UT Health Science Center library, librarians get a lot of questions about copyright. Although the ultimate authority for questions about copyright at the UT Health Science Center is the Office of Legal Affairs, here is some basic information that is important for all students and faculty to understand so you can get your work done without copyright problems. 
Copyright Tutorial
Quick tutorial about copyright basics:
What is Fair Use?
Outside of the UT System License, use of copyrighted material is dependent on the concept of Fair Use, Section 107 of the United States Copyright Act. It presumes the use is minimal enough so that it does not interfere with the copyright holder's rights. Fair use is designed to allow use of copyrighted works for research and education and also commentary, parody, and news reporting. 
Public Domain
Public domain refers to works that do not fall under copyright restrictions. 

Three main categories of public domain works:
  • works that automatically enter the public domain upon creation (titles, names, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols, numbers, ideas and facts, government works)
  • works that have been assigned to public domain by creators
  • works that entered public domain after copyright expired.
Four Factor Fair Use Test
The four fair use factors:
  • What is the character of use?
  • What is the nature of the work to be used?
  • How much of the work will you use?
  • What effect would this use have on the market for the original or for permissions if this use were widespread?
Fair Use Checklist
The Fair Use Checklist provided by Columbia University allows you to determine whether the criteria is met for Fair Use. 
Additional Resources